The Fat Quarter Shop is celebrating National Sewing and Quilting Month in September and I couldn’t resist getting involved. I mean really who WOULDN’T want to celebrate all things quilting and sewing?!
So today I’m answering some questions about my own sewing and quilting and I’m also going to share some of my favourite projects with you.
They actually set a challenge to try something new but with the busy-ness we’ve had around here at Crafty HQ I still haven’t chosen my project so look for that one later in the month.
1. How did you start quilting and sewing?
I sometimes think I learnt to sew by osmosis, that somehow I just picked it up because I was around someone who sewed a lot. My Mum made almost all of my clothes when I was a kid so there was often fabric all over the dining table, pins on the floor and the sewing machine set up, ready to grab a moment when she had a spare one. Mum is a teacher so it was totally natural that as she was fitting my latest sundress she would be talking about how it fit and what she would do next. I was a curious kid so I watched and listened.
In high school I had to learn some basic sewing and although I made the compulsory project – I think it was a pencil case – it wasn’t something that captured my imagination back then. I was much happier to do stitching by hand than use the sewing machine.
Fast forward a few years and I was married when we moved away from all our family and friends to a country town in western Queensland. (I couldn’t believe it was so small that there were no traffic lights in the whole place!) I quit my job and had time on my hands while my husband worked long hours so I decided I would learn to make quilts. Luckily I had Mum’s old sewing machine with me. I was confident that I could cope with the straight sewing required and I raided the local library for books so I could teach myself. In hindsight, I wish I had not been too shy to go to the local quilt shop for lessons but I had a ball cutting fabric and making my first quilt.
I was hooked!
2. When was the first time you knew that you were a quilter or sewer?
We moved around quite a bit for a few years after that first taste of country life, but in each place I seemed to find a friend who also enjoyed sewing and I kept learning. My enthusiasm must have been obvious to my husband. I remember that just before I had my first child, he suggested that I should buy my own sewing machine – something to do with spending the money before I stopped working – so I went out and bought my Pfaff machine from the quilt shop with a special extra “quilter’s package” so I’d be all set to keep making quilts.
These days my sewing machine never gets packed away. I leave it set up with my latest project nearby ready to grab a minute of sewing between other jobs – just as I remember Mum doing!
Somehow over the years I became a sewer as well as a quilter. With kids there are plenty of things to sew, and they just assume I can make anything from a pencil case to a Star Wars costume for Book Week! But I love the challenge of working out how to make something new and have over a hundred Pinterest boards with ideas for ‘one day’.
3. Do you have any sewing or quilting horror stories or faux pas?
I’m very much a “work it out as I go along” kind of maker so I have often found that I don’t have enough fabric or ribbon to quite finish a project. But I tend to just find something else from the stash or somehow make it work.
I also have a tendency to skip vital steps in patterns. The first pair of shorts I ever made for my son was joined completely wrong and had to be unpicked about 3 times! You would have thought after the first unpicking I would have been more careful but, alas, I still didn’t read it closely enough!
4. What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out in sewing or quilting?
Just have a go.
You are working with fabric and thread – you can’t hurt yourself or your machine (unless you do something really silly!) – so just play around and try stuff.
The online community of bloggers and makers is very generous so there is so much inspiration to look at, and lots of tutorials and lessons for free.
Don’t be afraid to try a big project and work on it slowly over time – imagine how much you will love it when it is finished!
There are no wrongs and rights for fabrics and colours so if you love it, go for it.
Fat Quarter Shop is offering this free downloadable pattern this month so pop over and grab your copy, or pin for later.